Overheard on CNN.com: Parents to blame for anti-'sissy' therapy?
The Murphy family in the 1970s: Kirk (from left), Maris, Kaytee, and Mark. Kirk Murphy killed himself in adulthood.
June 9th, 2011
08:31 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Parents to blame for anti-'sissy' therapy?

Comment of the Day:

"A tragedy. Parents having a child that didn't meet their and society's expectations. Parents who used an experimental treatment. A father who brutalized his son and a mother who let it happen. Reker? I can't say what I think. Won't get past the censors. But there is a special ring in Dante's inferno waiting for him."–abbydelabbey

Therapy to change 'feminine' boy created a troubled man, family says

Kirk Murphy committed suicide in 2003 at the age of 38, more than three decades after treatment to make him more "masculine." George Rekers, the doctoral student who treated him, went on to found a faith-based organization that lobbies against gay-rights issues. As recently as 2009, a book Rekers co-authored cited Murphy's case as a success. Murphy's family has a different story.

While most commenters were appalled at his treatment, many they said the parents were to blame. thies said, "The mom blames the doctor?! lol."

QueenMean said, "The parents do not get a pass on this. Beating their kid til he screams because they want him to be more boylike? Forcing his brother to become complicit in this? I don't care if God almighty comes down from the heavens, the parent is the final judge on what occurs in their home. They don't get to point to someone else and say 'he started it.' "

lajodi said, "This story is unbearable. My heart breaks for that boy and the man he grew into. I don't understand how any mother could allow her son to be hurt that way. The parents are just as responsible for what happened as the therapist."

Other readers said that it was unfair to judge earlier times by the standards today. JRKnowsBest said, "I am always shocked when I realize how much our society has changed in my lifetime. I lived through the kind of discipline that is being discussed here, and had forgotten how brutal it was. The story brought back memories that I hadn't thought about in years. Memories of my Dad chasing me around the garage with his belt. I think the humiliation of it was more disturbing than the pain that I felt. But the 70's were like that. That was normal parenting back then. Just 30+ years later, we're amazed, even those of us who lived through it."

SadieBoyd said, "The parents thought they were doing 'the right thing': after all, the doctors were the experts." unknown11 said, "While I in no way condone anyone's action in this case, I think I will assume that the parents actually had his best interrests at heart. Remember that in the '70s you would have been very worried about a gay child. You would be worried about his future and well being. I am not calling that a good reaction, but we all only operate on the information and societal norms that we have at the time."

kermit12 said, "Love your children as they are, or be prepared to bury them sooner or later. Goodness knows how many other 'experiments' have gone on. I know the Mormon church does 'anti-gay therapy' with electro-shock treatment included. A close friend of mine survived this; he is now a lost soul - an alcoholic/drug addict, incapable of having relationships."

Bruce5 said, "I too was beaten and tortured by my father because he correctly perceived that my love of art and music (which he considered effeminate) meant that I might become gay, and he was determined to beat it out of me. He did not succeed. This program brings anew the rage and fury over the premature death of that 'sissy boy' which was me."

Squatter Nation: 5 years with no mortgage payment

CNN.com readers were mostly critical of the article's homeowners, who are not paying their mortgages while they try to negotiate loan modifications or fight evictions in court. TikiGawd, referring to one of the interviewees, said, "Sorry, 'Lynn,' but thinking of your home as a piggy bank is what got you in that situation." Ryan Furlong, said, "You sign up for an ARM, that's your own damn fault."

JJMurray said, "These are the kinds of people destroying this country. Absolutely no personal responsibility and no self respect. Everything is someone else's fault." TheNewWyatt said, "I like that Lynn's biggest problem is, not paying the mortgage, but if she should get another dog or not. Now there is a person who is plannig ahead."

Perhaps the old ways of thinking about things is wrong, suggested JimMNH: "Am I wrong for teaching my kids to do the right thing? My traditional perspective is that someone who signs a contract and weasels out of it is wrong. This is how I grew up and what I still believe. On the other hand, my enlightened perspective is that it is the banks and financial institutions and our own government that are the root of this issue. The banks and financial institutions were taking advantage of people before the roof caved in on their schemes. They fight the needed regulations and oversight to keep people and themselves honest and on a level playing field."

Raycote said, "The problem here is that corporate institutions have so completely captured the machinery of American democracy that the citizens have no ability to constrain or dictate any limits to their behavior. The corporate tail in now fully in control of the democratic dog it is was intended to serve."

Gingrich top aides abandon campaign

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's campaign manager, press secretary, top strategists in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and six Iowa staff members resigned Thursday. According to Craig Schoenfeld, former Iowa executive director for Newt 2012, "there was a difference of opinion in how we saw a path to success and victory."

Josh said, This is a serious blow for Newt and the several other people who think he should be president."

Ace said, "His campaign staffers found out he'd been seeing another campaign staff . . ." jo an asked, "Did he tweet their wives????"

Wobbles said, "When everyone but your dog leaves your campaign you might want to reconsider how badly you really want to lose a primary." JadeRose said, "That'll do, Newt. That'll do."

HEY! said, "Well, things are going so smoothly already. If he can't even manage his own team, why should he be president? Rule 1: Compromise."

nick2 said, "Oh, too bad. This season's presidential contenders are literally falling apart at the seams." FRANK – LAS VEGAS said, "Newt will have one of the shortest presidential campaigns in history. Larry L said, "Rats leaving a sunk ship." Dave said, "Bye, Newt! Please retire and call it a good, corrupt run."

EYE OF NEWT said, "Many people were hoping Newt's campaign would collapse in complete humiliation just like this, because it's so much more entertaining than a slow fade to obscurity. Unfortunately, if his campaign collapses now, we will be denied the outrageous damage he'll do to himself, his family, and his party of the next year or so. I for one, hopes his ugly hypocrisy allows him to hang on for a while."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: iReport • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. fred

    We're just higher evolved wild animals, what do you want from mankind?

    June 9, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Doug

    What was done to that boy is beyond belief.. His mother is very much to blame, she hated the idea her son was gay, therefore she enrolled him in an abusive experiment which in the end ruined his life and ultimately he died .. I find the mother just as disgusting today as she was then, she accepts no blame and still to this day blames UCLA, she is the one who is responsible for what happened... This woman should not have had children, she is truly a bigoted creepy old lady.

    June 9, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. madbass207

    what the heck are you people talking about this man beat his son because he was gay. how dare a man beat his son and not be perpared to one day put him in a coffin. it dose not matter if he is gay or not no one on this earth has the right to cause the death of another man i do not care if he thought he was doing the right thing or the wrong thing he caused a man to kill himself.

    June 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Serve Justice

    May justice be served on *everyone* concerned who caused this boy the fatality that it lead to. Godspeed!

    June 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. No Difference

    They found out, in more than one occasion, that this kind of "therapy" leads to D-E-A-T-H. It appears much worst than the N-azi Concentration Camps that also used such therapies because they did not like Ga-ys. No difference here, one leads to the exact results as the other. It's very sad that people can't appreciate the way other people are born and their orientation. Truly sad! How many more will have to pay with their lives? Round up the perpetrators of these "therapies" and put them out of commission NOW!

    June 9, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JanetMermaid

    When are people (read: Christians) going to stop this abuse against gay people. And yes, trying to force them to "become straight" or "never become gay" IS abuse. There is no excuse in this day and age not to accept people for who and what they are. It is, frankly NO ONE'S business if someone else is gay.

    June 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. blaming others to justify their "guilts"

    Just last week CDC released startling statistics that say gay/lesbian teens are committing "high risk behaviors" including suicide at far more higher rate than other teens. Maybe it's time for the family own up to how they treated him throughout his life instead of passing the blame to someone else so they can go back to feeling good about themselves... the school didn't just appear in their house one day and forced him to be "redeemed" did it?

    June 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. beachrat

    This is a horrible example of bad parenting and child abuse, it is too sick for words.

    June 9, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wooze

    It's been a long time since I encountered a story so wrenching I had to stop reading. The story about Kirk Murphy did me in. I cannot bear to think about the pain he must have felt. And his poor brother, trying to protect him and being forced to be a part of this systematic torture. The past cannot be undone, but I hope that this story at least prevents others from facing the same sort of treatment.

    June 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. FLUZIE

    When that DR. responsible was questioned, I thought to myself, I bet he's gay....and sure enough later in the broadcast they said he was caught with a male escort. People of that generation hated gays, even if they themselves were gay. And that still goes on today...all those effeminate preachers that preach against gays....then get caught in a gay "scandal". It's sick that people can't just BE as they were born and meant to be. When I was a child in the 70s–a girl–my family let me play with cap guns and Tonka toys...they didn't necessarily like it but they didn't try to beat it out of me or take away my childhood by making me play with things I didn't like. My family treated me with respect even as a todler and they still do. I wish this man's parents had done the same for him. No, it isn't easy being gay in a society who hates or tolerates us at best but it's better than the alternative. Very sad.

    June 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • FLUZIE

      Sorry, I wanted to add something--I don't think his parents were/are demons. They grew up in the 50s when gays were treated very, very badly and often denied employment, ridiculed, etc. My mother(also a product of the 50s) even said to me when I was a teenager that if I chose to "live that way" it would be a hard life. She meant how I would be treated in society by some people and no parent wants their child mistreated or harmed. We've discussed it a lot...she was right-I've dealt with many hardships most straight people dont...but living the life your heart wants is still better than denying the very core of your being a chance to BE what you were meant to be.

      June 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michael

    In response to Newt: I find it amazing that he would still want to be a part of the republican party after they crucified him for speaking the truth as he saw it (ie ryans budget plan). he was lost without a trace as soon as he bucked against the party line/lies.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    While religion can be positive and does offer some people good things....overall the impact of religion as we know it now is an overwhelmingly negative influence of human evolution. Because of religion so much human pain and suffering exists. Because of religion so much violence and ignorance persists. When religion is invoked we allow the indefensible a pass. Religion distorts priorites and REAL values. Religion allows archaic, misogynistic to continue to dominate our lives in a day and age when we really should be smart enough and evolved enough to know better. We all suffer because we aren't more proactive in resisting this vile ignorance and disingenuous belief system. Everyone suffers needlessly because we are such push overs when it comes to religion. We are who we are. If people really loved "God" they should accept that "God" doesn't make mistakes and we're fine as we are. But the ignorance puts us at war with our nature and disallows our individuality...because religion wants the power over us to control and become rich on our backs. Only fools still believe otherwise.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jack Burton...Me

    Witch Doctory aka Psychology should be banned. I wouldnt use it on my dog cough Pavlov cough.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. LouAz

    Why is it only so called religious people object to gays ?

    June 10, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. skyler

    here we go again. more gay rights crap. every day kids get their butts kicked but once again the gay kid steals the show...

    June 10, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • M_Edwards

      Yet, kids don't get their butts kicked because they're kids.

      June 10, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • How Insensitive

      Have you taken leave of your senses, Skyler! Here's a young kid who has lost his life because of this terrible "therapy" he was forced into taking and you dare make it a G-ay rights issue? What's the matter with you man? Where's your head at!

      June 10, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
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